Monday, May 30, 2016

I Believe in a Thing Called Love, or I Watched The Darkness, So You Don’t Have to

Kevin Bacon was in the original, pre-hockey mask Friday the 13th (1980), and starred in Flatliners (1990) and Stir of Echoes (1999), so he is no stranger to the horror genre.  Australian actor Radha Mitchell made her American debut in Pitch Black (2000), before starring in the uneven but gloriously atmospheric Silent Hill (2006).  Australian director Greg McClean from the terrifying yet oddly humorous Wolf Creek (2005, think Saw, but in the outback, with a dash of The Hitcher) completes the trilogy of what should be a winning formula in The Darkness (2016), not to be confused with the early 2000’s UK glam rock band.
The kindest thing I can say about The Darkness is it’s an original movie and not a remake or a reboot of a more successful franchise.  It’s simply not possible to make a truly scary PG-13 horror movie, because as soon as the audience sees the rating it knows the punches will be pulled and there will be an over-reliance on jump scares, bloodless gore, and implied violence.
There’s a family vacation where the son steals some sacred rocks from the Grand Canyon and brings the evil spirits back with them to their tidy suburban home.  You’ve seen elements of this movie before in far superior movies such as Poltergeist (1982), The Amityville Horror (1979) and even Paranormal Activity (2007).  It’s a typical suburban haunted house, where the lights won’t turn on and the water won't turn off, before the spirits start leaving sooty handprints and lighting fires.

The haunted shenanigans are initially blamed on their autistic son, (who technically, did bring those spirits into their home by taking those darn rocks), which brings up the only real scare in this movie; the fear of being a parent and the challenges of raising a special needs kid.  Blaming the hauntings on obscure Native American legends is problematic, and the only reason this movie hasn’t been pilloried as cultural appropriation like some music festival white girl in a feathered headdress is because it currently holds a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes.


my first novel? thanks for asking:) I wrote a 4 book supernatural martial arts series concerning the ongoing feud between a group of kung-fu killer witches in san francsico’s chinatown.